Deborah Morgan “The Punter”

As regular readers will know I don’t really do reviews. But I saw a play last night, written by a friend, and I want to tell you about it, because I think she’s really good at what she does. So fair enough?

“The Punter” by Deborah Morgan, at The Cornerstone, Shaw Street.

“The Punter” then is Deb’s first full play, following her brilliant novel “Disappearing Home” about growing up in Everton. There’s a full house in the theatre tonight, part of the Hope University Shaw Street campus, or “the old SFX” as the friends with me call it.

Some of us have seen an extract from the play performed before, by Deb and a friend at our “Peaceful Warrior” event last September. So we know we’re in for a bit of a comedy. But subsequent development by Deb and the whole company has considerably darkened things from what we saw last autumn. Continue reading “Deborah Morgan “The Punter””

On Lime Street: The Futurist

DSC03446I do the houses, it’s what I’m best at. And through that I do my best to help with the economy and the quality of life in the place where I live. I have very little time for some of the campaigns to ‘save’ this or that which others get very exercised and excited about. I’ve written before that if I had a year to live, even though they’re ‘quite nice’ I’d put none of my dwindling energies into saving Sefton Park Meadows, as they’re now known. I feel much the same about The Futurist.

But yesterday I was walking along Lime Street and took these photographs. Looking at the closed-road-beleagured place as an analogy for a city struggling with austerity politics. Continue reading “On Lime Street: The Futurist”

St George’s Hall, Liverpool – what’s it for?

Well, what exactly is St George’s Hall for? Hardly an urgent issue but something I ask myself now and then.

As I walk along Lime Street.
As I walk towards it along Lime Street.
Liverpool's most respected building by Pevsner and the like.
Liverpool’s most respected building by Pevsner and the like.
Here standing between the brutal vulgarity of the St John's market car park and the elegant grace of Lime Street Station.
Here standing between the brutal vulgarity of the St John’s market car park wrap-around screen and the elegant grace of Lime Street Station.
Well it just is, isn't it? Just there.
Well it just is, isn’t it? Just there.

I can’t imagine Liverpool without it. Continue reading “St George’s Hall, Liverpool – what’s it for?”

Waste Not, Want Not?


I’m not sure if being away from home helps me think more clearly but certainly being in Leeds for a few days this past week has been full of education for me. Education of the in your face kind that I wrote about at the Real Junk Food Project of course. But also gentler learning through visiting other places doing good things as part of my work, plus other learning and thinking whilst there from long conversations about life and the living of it in a time of austerity with friends new and not so new.

Back in Liverpool now all this education has led to one of my Sunday afternoon musing rambles to see if I can work out what it all amounts to, for me anyway. Here goes.

Learning from austerity the last time around

The first thing I should clarify immediately is, of course, that I don’t for a moment believe that this really is austerity that’s being visited upon us in these years. It’s a cold blooded political attack and I could fill the rest of this post with the names of the guilty. But enough said. The guilty are calling it ‘austerity’ and I’m going to think through how we might move from widespread paralysis to recovery by thinking about the last time there was real austerity. Continue reading “Waste Not, Want Not?”

Socialist ’til I die

Lately and increasingly I have resumed writing in long hand when something really matters to me, when something needs working out. The slowness of it, the active thinking, from my heart directly down my left arm to the tip of my pen.Socialist - 6

I’m writing in long hand now, sat on the wall of Sefton Park, the Sunday afternoon before the 2015 General election. Sefton Park where I have come for most of my adult life to walk, reflect and think about all the really big decisions. When to invite, when to leave? When to say yes, when to say no. Today I’m here to keep writing until I can decide who to vote for this Thursday.

As you can tell by the title above, several parties and candidates have already been eliminated by the thinking and experiences of my life up to now. I am a socialist and always have been since, I think, my first ever visit to a public library some time late in the 1950s:

“We’d moved to our new house on a new estate, just North of Liverpool. And in one of our early explorations of the new place, called Maghull, I remember my Dad taking me to the Library there and explaining how it worked. That I could pick the books I wanted and take them home. Then after we, or rather he, had read them to me, we’d bring them back. ‘It’s part of how we’ve decided to run the country. Books are important and this is a good way of making sure everyone can read the books they want,’ he said, gently educating his little son in the gently British version of socialism.”

But as you’ll know from my recent posts about The Big Issue and Borgen the kind of socialist I am at the moment has been up for some degree of consideration. Consideration that continues now, sat on this park wall writing all this down. Continue reading “Socialist ’til I die”

All will be well

All will be well01It’s a Street Market morning, first one of the year. Winter has passed, the light has returned and all feels well with the world as I set off for Granby. Though the days of darkness have been hard for many our once every five years go at proper democracy is only a month away. And dull though the election campaign has been so far, it does lift the heart to know that the current custodians of austerity politics may well be gone soon, despite the barking and howling of their lap dog and attack dog media.

Along Smithdown.
Along Smithdown.
And Ullet Road, a perfect Spring morning.
And Ullet Road, a perfect Spring morning.

Continue reading “All will be well”

The kindness of public librarians

A librarian at work.
A librarian at work.

I’ve often written about public libraries but not for some time. I have been spending a lot of time in them though lately, as I’ve been writing a book. It’s a book on the 50 year history of Liverpool Housing Trust, one of the ‘Cathy Come Home’ era housing associations and a place where I first volunteered and then worked in myself for 20 years from 1975. No doubt when the book comes out, which will be soon, little hints of what’s in it or long bits of what turned out to be too long to go into it will appear on here.

I’m not writing it on my own mind. My friend and ‘proper’ writer and publisher, Fiona Shaw of Wordscapes is doing much more of the writing than me and also editing the whole thing. But we divided up the bits we’d do and mostly write on our own, getting together occasionally to see where we’re up to.on-national-libraries-day22

And I’ve done most of my own writing of it in public libraries. In our grand and lovely Central Library when I wanted to lift my spirits and get going on what felt like a big project. Then most often in my local library at Allerton Road as I’ve settled into the work and enjoyed every minute of it.

Enjoyment much helped, as it’s turned out, by the kindness of public librarians. Continue reading “The kindness of public librarians”

On knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing


Thoughts from 2015.

Who knows where these sayings come from? Anyway, Sarah and I are getting on with our now twenty years long and rising conversation about life and the living of it, when I come out with more or less the title of this piece.

“The trouble is, they seem to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

‘Did you just make that up?’ asks Sarah, momentarily impressed. Fortunately my reply is that it’s just an old saying that I’ve remembered from somewhere in my childhood. Fortunate indeed, am I, in not taking the credit because without knowing it I’m quoting Oscar Wilde. Continue reading “On knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing”

Christmas is coming: But not to our house

Our houseIn town today we had a lovely few hours with our friends from Homebaked at the Quaker Meeting House. Principally there to take part in the Christine Physick exhibition of Anfield Art that I wrote about last week, our conversations, in fact, rambled far and wide. Through life and the living of it and the wonders of monkey puzzle trees (Sarah was there with us after all).DSC08488

One thing that didn’t get a mention all over the morning and the lunch that followed was Christmas. But as soon as we all emerged into the heaving Saturday streets, preparations for Christmas were in full swing and I suffered my first and traditional annual attack of nausea. Because I loathe Christmas. And I thought it might annoy you or amuse you if I were to tell you my 10 reasons why. Eight negative ones, ending on a bit of an upswing.

1. Why should I like Christmas? Continue reading “Christmas is coming: But not to our house”